Creating Responsive iFrames

The Problem

Whenever you pull some iFrame code from a 3rd party site (like YouTube or Bandcamp) to embed on your site, it will have an inline height and width defined in pixels.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="..."></iframe>

This is because iFrames are like little windows into another site and need to have a defined size so that everything that site wants to display in its iFrame will be visible.

If you want your iFrame to fill 100% of its allotted space, it’s not enough to make the width “100%” because its height won’t follow suit. You’ll need to maintain the iFrame’s aspect ratio so that its height and width grow and shrink together.

The Solution

On the iFrame, apply the CSS:

position: absolute;
width: 100%;
height: 100%;
left: 0;
top: 0;

This makes the iFrame completely fill the first parent element with a “position” attribute other than “static” (More info here).

Create a wrapper element and apply the CSS position: relative so that its child iFrame will fill it. Then give the wrapper element a “padding-bottom” percentage value that matches the height/width aspect-ratio of the iFrame (as shown in these directions).

I like to use a SASS mixin to do the math for me!

@mixin iframe-wrapper($width, $height) {
    padding-bottom: ($height/$width)*100%;